The Drug Court of NSW
What is the Drug Court?
The drug court is a specialist court that deals with offenders who are dependent on drugs. The drug court is located in Sydney, Parramatta and Toronto. The drug court regularly deals with criminal cases where the offender who are assessed as eligible for the drug court program.
Who will be eligible for the drug court program?
To be eligible for the Drug Court a person must:
- be highly likely to be sentenced to fulltime imprisonment,
- plead guilty to the offence or will plead guilty to the offence,
- be dependent on prohibited drugs
- Live in the Auburn, Bankstown, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Cessnock, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Holroyd, Lake Macquarie, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith, Port Stephens,The Hills Shire or City of Sydney Local Government Areas;
- be referred from the District Court at Campbelltown, Parramatta, Penrith, East Maitland, Newcastle or Sydney;
- be referred from the Local Court at Bankstown, Belmont, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Central, Cessnock, Downing Centre, Fairfield, Kurri Kurri, Liverpool, Maitland, Mout Druitt,Newcastle, Newtown, Parramatta, Penrith, Raymond Terrace, Richmond, Ryde, Toronto, Waverly and Windsor.
- be at least 18 years of age
A person is not eligible if he or she is:
- charged with an offence involving violent conduct;
- charged with a sexual offence or an offence punishable under Division 2 Part 2 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985
- suffering from a mental condition that could prevent or restrict participation in the program.
What is the procedure for the drug court program?
After you enter your pleas of guilty to the offences, you will be referred to the Drug Court ballot. Only a certain number of places are available per week to pass the ballot. Whilst it is rare that an offender will miss out on the ballot, if the weekly quota is exceeded, those who have not been chosen will miss out on the opportunity to participate in the drug court program.
Once you get through the drug court ballot, your case will be adjourned to the drug court, generally about 2 weeks after you are successful in the ballot.
Once you reach the drug court, you will be comprehensively assessed by the drug court team. If you are assessed as suitable, you will be placed into custody (if you are not already in custody) for a period of up to 2 weeks. This is called the “detoxification period”
Once the detoxification period is finished, you will be sentenced to a suspended sentence by the drug court for a period determined by the drug court judge. You will then commence the drug court program, and be released from custody to participate.
What happens if I am refused from the Drug Court program?
If you are refused from the drug court to participate in the program, your case will be sent back to the court that referred your case in the first place. There, you will be sentenced for the offences for which you have pleaded guilty.
For more information on sentencing, and to see case studies for sentencing types, click here.
Can I do the drug court program more than once?
Yes, however it must have been 5 years since your last drug court participation to be eligible for the second time.
For more information, contact LY Lawyers on 1300 595 299.